160828 Proverbs 25:6-7

Last Updated on Monday, 29 August 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Proverbs 25:6-7
Sermon Theme: Be Humble!

Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.

Did you watch much of the Olympics coverage this year? It is always amazing to me the talent that these athletes have been given. But what stood out to me during this year's games, was the humble attitude that many of the athletes showed after winning their particular event. And some of the athletes, when they were interviewed, even took advantage of the opportunity to offer praise and glory to God. For example, Brianna Rollins won the gold medal in the 100 meter hurdles. Afterwards she said, "I just kept God first and just continued to let Him guide me throughout the rounds...I'm just so excited; we are blessed...I'm grateful to God." Before she competed in Rio, Brianna sent out this tweet: "I want to break world records and win gold medals, but I also want to be known as the athlete who glorified God..." The bio on her Twitter account simply reads, "Glorifying God through the talent He blessed me with! Professional Hurdler ... God is Love."

It is so refreshing to hear athletes like Brianna share their faith in a humble manner such as this. This week from God's Word you and I receive encouragement to be like Brianna and many of the other humble athletes who competed in the Rio Games. Based on the two verses from Proverbs 25 that I just read, you and I receive the encouragement to BE HUMBLE!

Before we go any farther, there is an important point that I want to make sure we are all clear about. You and I are not able to talk about our being humble, until we first hear about the humble love of our Savior-God. God's Word is clear that far too often you and I allow sinful pride to fill our hearts. We find ourselves being selfish in the use of our time, talents and treasures. And the Bible teaches you and me that because of those sinful attitudes, which flow out of a sinful nature, and so quickly lead to sinful actions, you and I deserve only eternal punishment in hell.

But, as you spend time in God's Word, you read the Good News that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was willing to humble himself to win the forgiveness of all of your sins and all of my sins, including the sin of pride. As the Apostle Paul wrote the Philippians about our humble Savior, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (2:6-11).

It is Jesus who lived a perfectly humble life in your place and mine. It is Jesus who alone won the forgiveness of all sins. It is God the Holy Spirit who not only created faith in your heart and mine to believe that Jesus is the only Savior, but he also uses his Word to give you and me the power to live humbly for our Savior-God. Once again allow me to quote Paul, this time as he writes to believers living in the city of Ephesus, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Now, let's take a moment to talk about the good work of being humble. Echoing what we read in Proverbs 25, Jesus had something to say about this in our Gospel Lesson for today, "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Giving thanks for the forgiveness of all of our sins through Jesus, it is with a humble heart that we put the needs of others ahead of our own. Again, in the Gospel Lesson we read earlier, Jesus had something to say about how we can live a humble life. "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

The Savior isn't telling you and me that it is wrong to do things with friends, family members or neighbors. What he is warning against is doing something nice for someone, only because you expect to get something in return. You and I offer a helping hand to someone in need, not because we will want to "cash in" a favor at a later date, but because we want to say "thank-you" to Jesus who offered up his life as the payment price for our sins. With a humble and thankful heart, we offer back to our Lord the best gifts of our time, our talents and our treasures that he has blessed us with, not because we are looking for the old "pat on the back" from our fellow members or even God himself, but rather as a thank offering that we gladly and willingly return to him.

There is one final, important point to remember as we talk about living as a humble Christian. It is found in James chapter 2, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do" (James 2:14 – 18). Living as a Christian, being humble, is not done as a way to earn our way into heaven. Rather, it is a fruit of our God-given faith; a fruit of faith that is pleasing to our Savior-God. As one author has written, "The Lord will acknowledge...and repay in mercy and grace. Although there may not be a repayment during this life, such works of love and kindness will not be forgotten in the day of the Lord's return when he says, 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'" (see Matthew 25:31ff).

"Christ in Me" is the new theme for our school year here at St. Matthew's. It is a wonderful reminder that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that he lives in the hearts of all believers. Jesus won the forgiveness of all of your sins. Jesus our King is preparing your place at the great banquet table in heaven. Until that day when he says your place at that table is ready, listen as God's Word teaches you and me about living as Christ lives in us. Giving all thanks and praise to our Savior-God, gladly and willingly be humble! Amen.

 

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